THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH
The millennial reign of Christ will serve as the front porch to eternity. It will be the initial phase of God’s eternal Kingdom. When the Millennium culminates, the final state of God’s prophetic program will be ushered in with the destruction of the present heaven and earth and the creation of a new heaven and new earth.
The heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, a 1,500-mile cube the size of a continent, will come down out of heaven and sit upon the new earth as the capital city of the new universe. The Lord will reign forever, and His people will serve Him and reign with Him for eternity.
After the millennial kingdom and the Great White Throne Judgment, the same God who created this present heaven and earth will destroy it and create a new heaven and new earth, ushering in the eternal state.
Before the new heaven and new earth can be created, the present heaven and earth must be destroyed. The old heaven and the old earth will disappear. The Bible mentions this event several times (Psalm 102:25-26; Isaiah 34:4; 51:6; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3:7,10-13; Revelation 21:1).
After the present order is destroyed, God will put it all back together again. The Bible does not tell us a great deal about the eternal state.
TWELVE THINGS THAT WILL NOT BE THERE
- No more sea—because all chaos and disorder (symbolized by the sea in ancient times) will be gone (Revelation 21:1)
- No more tears—because all hurt will be removed (Revelation 21:4)
- No more death—because mortality is swallowed up by life (Revelation 21:4)
- No more mourning—because all sorrow will be perfectly comforted (Revelation 21:4)
- No more crying—because joy will reign supreme (Revelation 21:4)
- No more pain—because all diseases will be expelled (Revelation 21:4)
- No more thirst—because every desire will be satisfied (Revelation 21:6)
- No more wickedness—because all evil will be banished (Revelation 21:8, 27)
- No more Temple—because God will be everywhere (Revelation 21:22)
- No more night—because the glory of God will shine (Revelation 21:23-25; 22:5)
- No more closed gates—because God’s door will always be open (Revelation 21:25)
- No more curse—because the death of Christ has lifted it (Revelation 22:3)
THE CAPITAL OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH (REVELATION 21:9–22:5)
As John looks at the new heaven and new earth in his vision, the spotlight shifts suddenly to a descending metropolis, the new Jerusalem, the Holy City coming down out of heaven from God.
This city is the current dwelling place of God, the angels, and the souls of departed saints, yet one day it will descend to the new earth (Revelation 21:2-3). The new Jerusalem will be the capital of the eternal state. It will be the metropolis of eternity.
The glory of God will be the main feature of this city (Revelation 21:11, 23). The heavenly city described in Revelation 21–22 is the third heaven that Paul visited in 2 Corinthians 12. It is the place that Jesus is preparing for us (John 14:1-3). It is the Father’s house in which there are many dwelling places.
Hebrews 12:22-24 describes the residents of God’s new world. There are three identifiable groups in the new Jerusalem besides God Himself and Jesus: angels, church-age believers (“the assembly of God’s firstborn children”), and the rest of the people of God from the other ages (“the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect”). All who by God’s grace have trusted in the person and promises of God will be in heaven.